Dragonheart (1996)

An 18-foot-high, 43-foot-long dragon is the computer-generated co-
star of this strictly-by-the-numbers sword 'n' sorcery flick.  As 
voiced by Sean Connery, "Draco" is a surprisingly expressive 
creation who is well-deserving of his 23 minutes of screen time.  
He walks, talks, flies, fries, and even fakes his own death, all 
with the help of 96 computer-aided animators.  Too bad that ILM 
(Industrial Light and Magic) couldn't spare some special effects 
for DRAGONHEART's *human* co-stars.  A bearded black hole exists 
where Dennis Quaid should be.  He's a near-total loss as he growls 
glumly through his role of a disillusioned knight.  David Thewlis' 
evil king has a high Hiss Factor (HF), though he's more of a 
mumbling oddity than anything else.  Oh, and there's some redhead 
in a '90's wig, who runs around either screaming or scowling, 
depending upon if the particular scene has her playing the Woman in 
Peril or the Put Upon Peasant.

The fringe flourishes include Pete Postlethwaite as a wandering 
monk with literary ambitions, Julie Christie (!) as the good Queen 
Mother, a band of mercenaries that appear dressed for ye olde 
heavy-metal concert, and, believe or it not, the speaking spirit of 
King Arthur.  Bring out your dead!  Unfortunately, when we add it 
all together (Draco + Fringe Bits - Quaid - Thewlis), the sum total 
amounts to zero.  DRAGONHEART is, well, too much of too little.  
Director Rob Cohen (DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY) has made a big, 
expensive movie that, while ambitiously plotted, is both murky and 
predictable.  And overscored.  And self-important.  And the list 
goes on.  (I must ask: did screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue intend 
that *every* character be stabbed, lanced, or sliced at least once?  
Keep that man away from the knife drawer!)  The last five minutes 
of this movie are the worst, with some silly celestial nonsense 
that would be laughed out of any planetarium light show, much less 
a summer movie.  Save your money.  (Rated "PG-13"/108 min.)

Grade: C-

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: June 8, 1996

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